A teenager hospitalized this week after being subdued by an Independence police officer’s stun gun has sustained brain damage, his family’s attorney confirmed Friday.
Bryce Masters, 17, of Independence, remained in serious condition Friday but had been moved from the intensive care unit and was being evaluated by a team of occupation, speech and physical therapists.
Police said Masters refused to comply with the officer’s demands to exit the vehicle, and he physically braced himself in the car to prevent the officer from pulling him out after a traffic stop Sunday afternoon at East Southside Boulevard and Main Street.
After Masters refused to exit the car, the officer deployed his stun gun. Its probes struck the youth in the chest.
The FBI’s Kansas City office is investigating whether the officer, Timothy N. Runnels, used excessive force.
Family members said the stun gun’s probes caused Masters to go into cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. After Masters was resuscitated, doctors placed him into a medically induced coma and lowered his core body temperature.
The Truman High School senior has spoke with family members and hospital medical staff. Therapists and physicians are in the process of determining the extent and long-term effect of the brain damage, said the family’s attorney, Daniel Haus.
Police said Runnels pulled over Masters because there was a Kansas City police warrant associated with the license plate on the vehicle he was driving. The warrant was associated with a female who was not in the vehicle and who is unknown to Masters’ family.
Runnels detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, according to a court document that police filed to request a search warrant for the car.
Because the incident is under federal investigation, family members are unable to comment about the specifics of the incident, Haus said.
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